Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia Blue Belt Intensive’

So Much In A Hug

Posted by terrepruitt on November 24, 2015

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City FitA year or so ago, maybe even longer, I saw a book in the library and I asked my husband if I could borrow it.  The “library” being his shelves and shelves of books.  I’ve had it for sometime now.  I know that it was in my office for me to read, then I moved it to my nightstand thinking I would read it there.  I did not.  I moved it back to my office.  And just now, looking for something to write, I see it tucked under some envelopes.  And I open it up and the first page is about “a dance of joy and love”.  I love that.  I have picked the book up a couple of times and glanced at a few pages, but I never looked at that one, at this one, at the first one.  How perfect is that?  What a sweet thought, “we are all holding each other through a dance of joy and love.”

This book was copyrighted in 1983.  The page title “The Theory” talks about how various experiments have shown that tough can help.  Help by making us feel better, not just about out selves, but about our surroundings. And how hugs can help in children’s language development and IQ.  And that the positive effects for both the hugger and the huggee.

So people knew how great hugs were by 1983.  I understand how everyone is different in there need and desire to hear about scientific evidence or “proof” of things, but I feel that most people after having experienced a true, caring hug would freely admit that they can see how it can be a good thing.  I don’t think that science is really needed.  Just get a hug.  Or even give a hug.  And I think the proof is in the embrace.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City FitIt seems that we all feel better when we feel connected.  Not only do we FEEL better but our bodies respond to that.  Our immune systems appear to get stronger.  I know that I feel better after a hug.  A real hug.  I am not sure if I mentioned it, but when I took my Nia Blue Belt Intensive, one of the trainers would start the day by hugging each and every one of us.  She would do it before we started the training.  It was the first thing she did when she saw you.  She is a small woman but she would hug you with her whole entire being.  I always felt as if I was being embrace by a bear.  I always thought it was so odd because she was so small yet her hugs were sooooo huge.  It was one of the best parts of the intensive.  Those were REAL hugs.

I believe those kinds of hugs have the real healing power.  The heart-felt meaningful hugs.

So if you think hugs are healing and are a good thing, you might want to check out this book so you can become a “Hug Therapist”.  It is cute and fun loving.  Looking on Amazon seems that the author wrote a Hug Therapy 2 and a Love Therapy book.  Not sure what that is about.

I am a firm believer in hugs.  How about you?  Do hugs make you feel better?  Are you a hugger?  

Info regard immune system:

Association for Psychological Science

Carnegie Mellon University News

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Squatting Does A Body Good

Posted by terrepruitt on February 8, 2014

One of my Blue Belt Sisters (a woman I attended the Nia Blue Belt Intensive with) posted a link on Facebook to an article about 5 reasons to do a full squat.  I love when I see information like that . . . information about why it is good to do “something”, something we do in Nia.  I love that.  I love when people confirm and promote Nia movement.  As you know, if you have read some of my Nia posts, Nia is not new.  Nia has been around for 30 years.  Nia incorporates moves and ideals from different modalities so most of it is not new.  HOW they incorporate it is often unique, but we use a lot of movements used in other exercise and workout programs.  Which is a great thing.  Not that just because something is done commonly makes it good, but since Nia is based on how the body was designed to move it makes sense that we do movements done in other practices and vice versa.  So I was excited to see an article talk about something we do in Nia.  Nia knows the benefits of squats.

I posted about the Garland Pose and I posted about what Nia 5 Stages calls “standing“.  Here I am going to touch upon some benefits of doing full squats.  A few of mine are different than the 5 mentioned, so check that out too.  First, the article reminds us that children squat to reach for things on the ground and will get into that position when playing on the ground.  Many things that children do we understand to be beneficial yet we no longer do them as adults.  In addition to the many physical benefits of a full squat, it can possibly help us remember that child-like position of play.  A Nia workout includes “exercising” the BMES (Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit) and many people claim that the play we do in Nia is great for their spirit.  Squat like a kid!

Small children have all that yummy flexibility.  Their bodies have not yet sat in chairs for years or worn shoes that either keep their ankles from moving in a full range of motion or even keep their foot in one position, possibly even shortening their calf muscles.  So they can easily squat with both feet fully on the ground, and their legs folded, and their chest to their thighs with their bum low to the ground.  So a squat allows for all of that.  Mobility and flexibility in the ankles.  Flexibility in the knee.  And balance.  Being able to squat with flat feet and stay stable is proof of good balance.  Think of all those muscles you use to stay tush down and upright . . . (if you need help “thinking”, do it now and just sense all of that).

If you are doing the “Garland” type squat with the wide knees you are really opening the hips and groin area.  It is important to have flexibility and mobility in the hips because those things help make walking more comfortable.  A body is able to stand more upright when the hip flexors aren’t tight.  So squatting can help the body allow for good posture.  The squat also helps with stretching the back of the legs.  Squats target the hamstrings and the glutes.

And if you push up to standing you are using your glutes, so standing up from a squat is a good bum strengthener/toner.  Sometimes we move into a deep squat position in Nia as part of a Nia routine.  We do squats as part of the Nia 5 Stages and we push up into a walk.  So as I said Nia knows the benefits of squatting.  What about you?

Are you a squatter?  Do you find yourself squatting during the day?  Is the squat something your body needs practice doing?

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Vertical Routines – Conscious Transubstantiation

Posted by terrepruitt on February 5, 2013

I believe that in 2013 the training material for the Nia Blue Belt is going to change.  While it is not changing significantly the change will be significant.  🙂  The ideas will remain the same, but the verbiage and way it is delivered will be updated.  While I was attending the Nia Blue Belt Intensive in November of 2012 we were being shown the new slides.  The word that was used most often — or that I remember most is – simplify.  The idea was to simplify the training.  The Nia Blue Belt principle #13 in the manual* shows it as Vertical Routines. We were told it is going to change to Conscious Transubstantiation with Creating a Vertical Body and Life as the tagline.  Not a simplification to me, but . . . . there you have it.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaI will state again as I have been stating in many of my posts about the Nia principles, what I am sharing is somewhat off the top of my head, what I remember being discussed and it barely scratches the surface of each principle.  The principles are deep, I could write pages about them alone and the taglines add yet another dimension with even more information.  Here I am just sharing a little portion, just one aspect. Now for the purpose of Nia, transubstantiation does not mean the bread and wine will change into the body of Christ.  But Nia is using it to mean change and change the body.  🙂  So, maybe that is the tie in and the reason to use that word.  Nia is using the term Conscious Transubstantiation to mean consciously change your body to match the body of the teacher.

This somewhat ties back to Nia Blue Principle #12, which is funny because that also helps explain the vertical portion.  It is common for a participant in a lead follow type of dance exercise class to do the move and follow the leader trying to change at the exact moment the leader changes the move.  Even if the leader is excellent at cueing the participant could feel rushed into the next move.  Sometimes the participant is concentrating and doesn’t hear or see the next move only to look up and realize they are a step behind or not matching exactly so they rush to catch up and do what the teacher is doing.  Well with the conscious change it’s ok not to rush to catch up.  Get there when you can.  No need to disturb the nervous system and interrupt the flow, just catch the next round or the next step.  Consciously changing instead of rushing into the move because that is where you are “supposed” to be.  Allowing yourself to change consciously allows for a smooth transition.  While this is not exactly the same as Nia Blue Principle #12, it is similar in that you are not having to rush to the next move.

The “Vertical” means how things are connected and built upon one another.  The Nia Blue Belt Principles are built upon and woven into the Nia White Belt PrinciplesNia’s 52 Moves are built upon each other.  The “vertical” routines speaks to the moves in the a kata and how we change from move to move, the songs in a routine and the transition between the two and even the bigger picture of routine to routine.

So . . . in a Nia class you are encouraged to move in your own body’s way and “get to” the next move in your own natural time.  The idea is not to upset the body, mind, and spirit by feeling as if you are not doing it right because you are not RIGHT ON the mark of the change as it first happens, Conscious Transubstantiation.  Take your time and enjoy the movement and the moment you are in.  Allow yourself to change when you are ready enabling you to sense the “vertical-ness” of Nia so your workout can be one of Joy.

It might be a challenge to break the habit of interrupting your move to match the teacher when you notice the change, but you might be surprised at the effect it has on your body, mind, and spirit once you do get the hang of it.  What do you think?  Are you willing to give it a try?

*The Nia Technique – Blue Belt Manual August 206, V4.0

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Form & Freedom, Yin & Yang

Posted by terrepruitt on January 17, 2013

I participated in a Nia Blue Belt Intensive in the beginning of November 2012.  Nia trainings are accurately named as intensive because they are intense.  They are intense because it is 50 plus hours of moving and thinking and learning and listening and exploring, etc.  It is a lot.  Nia is a great cardio dance workout, but if you want, it is a lot more.  The way things are connected is pretty amazing.  I am writing posts somewhat off the top of my head as to what my initial thoughts are in regards to the 13 Nia Blue Belt Principles.  After I get through all 13, I want to go back and write more as I read about each one and live with each one.  I also want to review the 13 Nia White Belt Principles.  At this time, I am on Nia Blue Belt Principle #9.  The principle is Form & Freedom.  The tagline is The Yin and Yang of Nia.  As I have stated in my other posts about the principles there is a lot more to them than I am writing about.  Nia is deep.  This is just off the top.

There are forms in Nia.  Some of the forms are:

-The 52 Nia Moves
-The Nia Routines
-The Seven Cycles of a Nia Workout
-All the PrinciplesDance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba
-All the Triads
-The music
-The movement forms
-The Nia 5 Sensations

Some of the freedoms are:

-The energy variety
-Personal creativity
-Silence
FreeDance
Natural Time
-Adapting the Choreography
-Movement variety
-Mixing routines
-Transubstantiation

We have a lot of things that give us form.  We have a lot of things in which we have freedom.  There is yin and yang.  The form and the freedom can be separate . . . we could just dance a song entirely FreeDance with no form at all.  Just everyone dance their own way, no choreographed steps, no guidance, no form.  Or we can marry the two.  I love that.  I love sharing with my Nia class that we are free in our form to do what we want.  We can think about what we are doing and the moves we are doing or just let the music dictate to us.

Right now the routine I am doing is full of places to have the form and the freedom.  There are many places in the routine where our feet have a specific form.  The moves, according to Carlos AyaRosas (FKA Carlos Rosas), are precise.  Our feet have a specific place, but our arms are free to move.  While our arms are moving when the concentration is on the feet you can sense the form, the structure, the precision.  But when the concentration is on the arms . . . .even if you are just letting them dance on their own to the music . . . you sense the freedom.  You can sense your spirit.  When you’ve had enough practice you can do both, have the form and the freedom.

The form is what many of us are accustomed to having, it is what we were trained to have in an exercise class. The freedom is what helps Nia be unique.  With the Nia Blue Belt Principle #9 – Form & Freedom -The Yin and Yang of Nia we get to play and it makes the possibilities endless.

Have you ever played with form and freedom?  Why don’t you try it?  Put on some music you like to dance to and get your feet moving in a specific pattern.  After a few rounds of the pattern just allow your arms to go.  Let them move freely.  Can you see how that can add up to an amazing workout?

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Principle #7 of the Nia Blue Belt – Nia Class Format

Posted by terrepruitt on December 27, 2012

Principle #7 of the Nia Blue Belt is “Nia Class Format” with the tagline of “Delivering the Promise”.   Before starting to write this post I opened my Blue Belt Manual and started reading what it said about principle #7 and for a moment I couldn’t remember learning anything about the principle in the training.  In the manual there is six and a half page table comparing a “Body/Mind/Spirit Teaching Style” to a “Traditional Teaching Style”.  I found myself thinking, “well, not any longer”.  As in the traditional style is really “old school”.  A lot of classes now adopt the formula that has ALWAYS been a part of a Nia class. Nia is different from many other workouts.  I believe in the almost 30 years that Nia has been around fitness classes have changed a lot and Nia is not the only one that incorporates a more mind-body approach.  Although I say that Nia is more a body-mind approach because Nia actually STARTS in the body. So . . . hmmmm?  If other classes are now doing what Nia has always done it goes a long way in showing that it is the better way.

Here is an example of the table, this is copied directly from The Nia Technique – Blue Belt Manual, August 2006, V4.0, page 132:

 Class Element:  Body/Mind/Spirit Teaching Style:  Traditional Teaching Style: 
Use of Language Uses healing phrases, words, and
visualizations that foster a positive self image.
Often times makes negative comments in humorous ways
that devalue the human spirit and lessen a positive
self-image of the human being.
Individuality Stresses the importance of individuality. Stresses conformity.

 

These are just two examples, as I said there are six and a half pages.  And, this table is not saying that every class that is not Nia does the things listed under Traditional Teaching Style.  It is just a sample of what some styles are like.

I like the table in the manual.  I feel it is a great tool.  I can see that sometimes I am using the Traditional Teaching Style (neither of the ones previously mentioned) and that is exactly why I wanted to participate in the Nia Blue Belt Intensive.  I wanted to work more on “delivering the (Nia) promise”.  I had been taught to exercise via the traditional way so that is what I know or knew.  I like the reminder of the Body/Mind/Spirit Teaching Style.  I also need the reminder because other people have been taught the other way too so that is what they respond best too.  It really is up to me to show them the alternative.  It is up to me to deliver Nia with the Nia class formula so that they can see that there is another way to workout.

This principle is about Body, Mind and Emotion, and Spirit.  Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 will assist me with this principle.  They are all connected.

Two things I want to mention to help clarify, when Nia talks about spirit, it is not in the religious sense, it is comparable to spirit as in “class spirit” or “spirit week”.  Ya know, like they do in high schools?  It is about the inner “you”, your enthusiasm, what drives you, your “spirit”, not something related to religion.

And the other thing, I believe that Nia is working on re-writing, adjusting, and updating the training material.  Nia is always working to remain up-to-date.  The trainers were working off of slides that were not even final.

Are you curious enough yet about Nia to find a Nia class in your area?  Do you prefer a Body/Mind/Spirit Teaching Style or a Traditional Teaching Style when you take a class?

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Relationship Joy With

Posted by terrepruitt on December 4, 2012

I posted about me having attended a Nia Blue Belt Intensive in the beginning of November.  I am still processing that.  I am reading the manual here and there.  I am thinking about the principles.  I think a lot about Principle #1 – The Joy of Being In Relationship.  I think I understand it and then I feel I don’t.  I think I got it, then I lose it.  One day last week I was walking up my stairs and as my foot landed on the last step I thought, “I got it!  I know why I think I don’t understand it!”  I even replied to a comment on my blog from a Nia Black Belt that I would be writing more about it.  At that point I thought I had it.  What I decided as I was walking up the stairs is that I feel as if the principle is elusive to me because I am looking for something new.  I have been told a new principle so I am looking to experience something new.  But my trek up my stairs had me thinking that I AM in relationship with and I have been.  As I was walking up my stairs something was aching (I can’t remember whether it was my hip or my knee) and as I was taking steps I was listening to my knee. I was checking in with my knee.  We were in an exchange.  Both my knee and I decided that it was not truly my knee that was the issue, but my foot.  But I was in relationship with.  I was not just sensing, as I picture The Joy of Movement (Nia White Belt Principle #1), I was in the Joy of Being In Relationship.  It was an exchange, it was relationship with.Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba

With The Joy of Movement there is the tweaking, sustaining, and increasing all for sensation.  With Nia Blue Belt Principle #1 – The Joy of Being In Relationship the tweaking, sustaining, and increasing is for relationship. I think that ever since I injured a toe on my right foot I have been in relationship with, but I have never really thought of it like that.  I am discovering the joy portion.  I feel as if I am practiced at this principle in regards to my body.  It is different “others” that I am eager to connect with.

Now that I feel that I have a better idea of it, I can practice it on “others”.  It is not something entirely new that I couldn’t grasp, it was something I had a hold of already.  In my first post about the Nia Blue Belt Principles I stated that it was new, but now I see it is not.  Now I can just apply it elsewhere.  The other principles can help with principle #1.  The principles are not necessary things that have to be worked on individually.  In fact they probably all work better together.  And as I have stated the principles are not necessarily new (to me) ideas.  The way they are applied to Nia could be new to me.  We will see.  It is all a very exciting process!

So . . . here I am sharing about Nia and processing it out loud on my blog.  ANY thoughts and comments are welcome.  Especially information from Nia Blue Belt Graduates.

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

First I Went Green, Now I’m Going Blue

Posted by terrepruitt on October 9, 2012

As I have shared with you before, there are four different levels to Nia Training; White, Blue, Brown, Black.  These are trainings anyone can take.  Each level has its own focus, intent, and principles.  You do not have to be interested in teaching.  If you are interested in teaching and hold a current license there is an additional level, Green, that may be taken.  The Green belt does not have its own principles because it focuses on teaching skills.  I have been a White Belt since December 2008.  In November 2012, I am going to be turning blue.  The focus for the Blue Belt is Communication, Relationship and Intimacy with the intent to energize personal connection through self-discovery and communication by following The Body’s Way.  I’m excited to see all that entails.  I do know that when I stepped into my White Belt I had NO IDEA the type of training I would be receiving.  I thought that I would spend 40 hours learning routines and learning how to teach.  But that is not what it was.  The White Belt is currently about (Focus) physical sensation with the intent to embody the foundation of Nia.  Back in 2008 is was (focus) the physical body, the anatomy of the body, the Nia Technique, and the Nia moves.  Which did not equate to learning routines.  I can’t wait to see what the Blue Belt Intensive has in store.

Nia’s training is very intense.  It is very deep.  It is very detailed, well-thought out, well presented, and well documented.  Recently a graduating Green Belt said it was “stellar”.  That is a great description.

Per the main Nia website the description for the Blue Belt states:

Blue Belt, the second level of Nia education, explores how to create healthy relationships through body-centered communication. This intensive introduces the next set of 13 Nia principles, which focus on the mental, emotional and spiritual realms of the body. While the White Belt curriculum focuses entirely on awareness of physical sensation, Blue Belt applies these skills to explore internal sensations as perceived through – but distinct from – physical sensations in the body.

Blue Belt Principle #1: The Joy of Being in Relationship, integrates the sensation of Joy with the awareness that Joy is something outside the self, which we can invite into our physical experience. As a result, we begin to deepen our ability to listen with clarity and sustain awareness of details outside our body.

If you have never been to a Nia Intensive it is impossible to describe, but I know it will be wonderful.  I know I will learn a lot.  I know that it is what I need because it is happening, so I am going to do my best to keep my energy allies present along with having a beginner’s mind so that I am able to get all that I can out of it.  You know that I will be sharing a lot when I get back.  I am so excited to be changing from White to Blue.  Just because I am moving to the next level doesn’t mean there won’t more posts about White Belt things, there is still a lot to share and learn about the White Belt, I will just have that much more to share!

Can I get a, “Woohoo Blue!”

**update:  I forgot to clarify and tie in to my title, silly me!  First I went Green as in drinking green smoothies and now I am going Blue.  I have not yet taken the Nia Green Belt.  I am hoping that there will be one in this area again.  There has only been one.

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